I can’t believe it’s already Week 12 of the MASL season. Time flies when you’re having fun, I suppose. This week has several very interesting matchups, especially Sunday night in Monterrey where two teams could enter the game undefeated, but only one will leave the game without a loss. Time to put on my prediction cap, and give you my picks.
There’s one game on Thursday night this week, as Tacoma travels to Ontario, California, to face the Fury. These teams faced off last week, with Tacoma winning 11-6. This will be a key game in the race for the second playoff spot in the Pacific Division. I give the edge to Tacoma in this one, even though they have a 1-3 record away from home. Expect a big game from Danny Waltman.
On Friday, Baltimore travels north to face the Syracuse Silver Knights. Baltimore and Syracuse are both coming off of overtime victories last weekend, and both are on three-game winning streaks. Now, I hope you are all sitting down while reading this, because I’m about to say something I’ve never said before. Syracuse will beat Baltimore. I know, shocked right? Pat Healey, Tony Donatelli, and Vini Dantas are going to be coming back from injuries this week, so they won’t be at 100%, and Lucas Roque is out for the season. Syracuse will have revenge on their minds, as they almost beat the Blast on the road earlier this season. Something about this game screams upset to me. So, give me the Knights at home!
Also on Friday, Florida faces St. Louis. Where do I begin with this one? Both teams suffered heartbreaking losses, with Florida losing in overtime, and St. Louis blowing a 6-0 lead against Kansas City. In this game, Florida will come out on top in convincing fashion, but, I wouldn’t mind it if St. Louis came into Lakeland, and played spoiler.
Cedar Rapids comes back home after matching 11-5 defeats to the Milwaukee Wave. Their next match: Harrisburg. This is a tough one to predict. Both teams are below .500, and both have shown what they can do when firing on all cylinders. In this game, I see Cedar Rapids emerging victorious, moving them back to .500 for the season.
The next matchup has Soles de Sonora traveling to El Paso, Texas, to face the Coyotes. Sonora has been heating up as of late, with their most recent victory against Rio Grande Valley. El Paso lost a close one to Monterrey last week 7-5. In a battle for the last playoff spot in the Southwest Division, I’m giving the edge to Soles. El Paso started off on fire, while Sonora was ice cold. I feel as though, this is now shifting the other way, with Soles playing well as of late.
After their Thursday matchup in Ontario, both the Fury and Tacoma Stars, travel to face Turlock and San Diego, respectively. Let’s start with the Fury-Express matchup. I feel the ultimate equalizer is the smaller playing field; anything can happen. In the last two meetings, both in Ontario, the Fury have outscored the Express 26-10. In another upset, I see Turlock winning this in a close match. Ontario will be a tired team after playing on Thursday, then traveling to Turlock on Friday.
Now, let’s look at the contest between San Diego and Tacoma. This will be a homecoming of sorts for former Socker, Nick Perera, who has already made a mark on the Stars, with two goals and an assist against the Fury (another former team of his). San Diego put up their most impressive victory last weekend in a rout over Turlock, and will continue their undefeated season with a win on Friday against Tacoma.
There are two games on the schedule for Saturday: Harrisburg travels to face the Kansas City Comets and the Milwaukee Wave head out west to face Soles. Kansas City comes into the game with a lot of confidence after making a huge comeback against the St. Louis Ambush last Saturday night. Harrisburg will be on the second and last game of their Central Division road games, after playing in Cedar Rapids the night before. Unfortunately Heat fans, I’m giving this contest to Kansas City. I’m liking the duo of Anthony Grant and Keil Williams. They are both very fast, and with Leo Gibson and Bryan Perez on the field with them, this can be a very high scoring team.
Let’s be honest. Milwaukee really hasn’t had a tough road so far. They’ve played Tacoma (who is 4-6 currently), St. Louis (1-11), Kansas City (3-8), and Cedar Rapids (6-7). This is where the schedule starts getting more difficult for the Wave. For the rest of the season, they’ll play the likes of Baltimore (three times), Syracuse (twice), and Monterrey (which I will get to momentarily). First up this weekend is the surging Soles de Sonora. As I stated earlier, a smaller playing field may make this matchup closer than expected. With that being said, Milwaukee will win this match, making the next game they play, the game of the year so far. That leads me to…
Monterrey versus Milwaukee. If you enjoy watching indoor soccer, get your popcorn ready folks. This one will be THE match to watch this weekend on YouTube. Looking over the stats of both teams, they’re pretty much equal; both teams are high powered offenses, and keep teams lower than five goals a game. When it comes to special teams, Milwaukee is better on the power play, and Monterrey is better at the penalty kill. So, what does this game come down to? In a word, goaltending. Who would I rather have in net; Josh Lemos or Diego Reynoso? I’ll take experience over youth, and give me Monterrey to hand Milwaukee its first loss this season!
The final game on the schedule pits a tired Tacoma team traveling home to face the visiting Turlock Express. After playing two games on the road, in back-to-back nights, one would probably not pick them to win on the third night. But, they’ll be playing a Turlock team that is playing their second game in three nights, probably traveling on their off day. I think Tacoma will be happy with winning two out of the three games this weekend.
So much action!!! To recap:
Tacoma > Ontario
Syracuse > Baltimore UPSET ALERT!!!
Florida > St. Louis
Cedar Rapids > Harrisburg
Sonora > El Paso
Turlock > Ontario
San Diego > Tacoma
Kansas City > Harrisburg
Milwaukee > Sonora
Monterrey > Milwaukee
Tacoma > Turlock
What a week MASL Nation! I see lots of close games happening. Don’t injure yourself while cheering your team on! We’ll catch you next week with another Merlin’s Picks.
Last week, I ALMOST went undefeated, but St. Louis let me down! So, instead I go 7-1 for the second week in a row.
LAST WEEK: 7-1
OVERALL: 69-17 (.802)